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Column 1st August 2018

Should we really allow housing on Abingdon airfield?

About three weeks ago we talked about the first week of the Vale Local Plan Part 2 Examination and the fact that the Vale seems to be allocating enough land for about 24,750 homes not just the 22,760 homes that we expected - that means another area almost as big as Grove Airfield.

The second week of the Hearing (last week) examined some of the sites where these additional homes might be built.

Firstly, we talked about an additional 600 houses on the edge of Kingston Bagpuize (in Fyfield Parish).

The County Highways team asked for these houses to be delayed until after Frilford Crossroad had been upgraded. They don’t know what form the upgrade will take but will have to obtain more land and get funding so don’t expect it to be done until 2024/25.

Fyfield believe that this development will have a significant impact on the gap between the village and Kingston Bagpuize and would prefer it to be taken out of the plan.

Next was Marcham, around 90 homes to the east of the village. Here the discussion really focused on air quality through the bends on the A415 and whether the by-pass would ever happen - it’s been planned since the 1930’s.

Then East Hanney; two sites to the north and northeast of the village for another 130 homes.

The Parish Council had submitted a drainage report which said that the northern site was unsuitable and the Vale was minded to remove the site from the plan but, of course, the developer argued so more discussion is required.

The Parish Council also pointed out that both sites are a long way from the centre of the village and connectivity to the village is a problem but the Inspector will decide if the houses can remain in the plan.

Finally Dalton Barracks and taking Shippon out of the Green Belt. Everyone agreed that building at the Barracks after the MOD leave in 2029 was a good idea but should they also build on the Airfield?

A recent decision about Wisley Airfield suggests not. The Secretary of State has supported a planning inspector who rejected the development of the airfield as it was inappropriate for the green belt, saying the scheme 'would result in a permanent loss of openness'... 'By being located in the midst of a cluster of hamlets the harm caused by the new settlement would be particularly noticeable and severe.'

Will our Inspector take a similar decision?


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